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Stem cells for ALS: An overview of possible therapeutic approaches

Highlights•Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an unusual, fatal, neurodegenerative disorder leading to the loss of motor neurons.•Multiple factors are contributed to the progression of ALS.•Stem cells are the most promising tool used in the preclinical and clinical trials for ALS. In this review we would like to discuss therapeutic properties of this cells and introduce completed and ongoing clinical trials about stem cell therapy for ALS.AbstractAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an unusual, fatal, neurodegenerative disorder leading to the loss of motor neurons. After diagnosis, the average lifespan ranges from 3 to 5 years, and death usually results from respiratory failure. Although the pathogenesis of ALS remains unclear, multiple factors are thought to contribute to the progression of ALS, such as network interactions between genes, environmental exposure, impaired molecular pathways and many others.The neuroprotective properties of neural stem cells (NSCs) and the paracrine signaling of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been examined in multiple pre-clinical trials of ALS with promising results. The data from these initial trials indicate a reduction in the rate of disease progression. The mechanism through which stem cells achieve this reduction is of major interest. Here, we review the to-date pre-clinical and clinical therapeutic approaches employing stem cells, and discuss the most promising ones.


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